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Lovely people who read The Streetlamp

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

~Winter Wassailing~#4: Two by Gorkys(and a little cover version)

A Selection Of Seasonal Songs In The ~Streetlamp~ Stylee!

I have of late felt rather annoyed and even somewhat ashamed that I never really got into Gorky's Zygotic Mynci when they were at the peak of their(very abundant) powers.
I think it was something to do with their rather cloying and nonsensical name, coupled with their almost endless affiliation with Super Furry Animals(a band I was never really partial to) that meant that I was forever keeping them at an arm's distance.
Even when they released the absolutely magical 'Spanish Dance Troupe' single, which deserves a Blog on it's own, I simply couldn't give myself up to them. I think if I had been in my teens then I would have easily accommodated them, but as I was in my late 20s pushing thirty when they really hit their stride, I allowed them to pass on by.

I now regret this a great deal as I find their folksy acid-tinged pop whimsy a splendid thing indeed, and Euros Childs manages to posses a beautiful childlike imagination coupled with a truly original and captivating singing voice.

We're going to concentrate on a couple of admittedly short Christmas tracks that they produced in their heyday.
The first is entitled 'Christmas Eve' and is a simple, unpretentious guitar (almost-)instrumental that has just the resonance to conjure up an image of cuddling up before a roaring fire on freezing cold night. Actually that's not too hard to do on a shockingly bitter cold night like tonight(minus 14 degrees here, fact fans!). I absolutely adore little pieces of music like this that just capture that moment beautifully, and this is a cracker(pun intended!).

Next up is the simply gorgeous 'Hwiangerdd Mair' which translates as 'Mary's Lullaby' and is a traditional Welsh Christmas song, some may even say hymn. This a wonderful, atmospheric reading of the song and Euros' voice gives it just that slightly Olde Worlde Festive vibe. I have to say that it's by bringing such a beautiful song to your attention(especially if you've never heard this track before) that really made me want to write these uncustomary Christmas Blogs.
These are the lyrics of the song, unfortunately there doesn't appear to be any Engish translation:

Suair gwynt, suair gwynt
Wrth fyned heibio'r drws
A Mair ar ei gwely gwair
Wyliai ei baban tlws

Syllai yn ddwys yn ei wyneb llon
Gwasgai waredwr y byd at ei bron
Canai diddanol gan
Cwsg, cwsg fanwylyd bach
Cwsg nes daw'r bore iach

Cwsg am dro, cwsg am dro
Cyn daw'r bugeiliaid hyn
A dod, dod i seinio'r clod
Wele, mae'r doethion syn

Cwsg cyn daw Herod a'i gledd ar ei glun
Cwsg, fe gei ddigon o fod ar ddihun
Cwsg cyn daw'r groes i'th ran
Cwsg, cwsg fanwylyd bach
Cwsg nes daw'r bore iach

Cwsg, cwsg. X5"

(I apologise if anybody is offended by the image of a Union Jack flag being used to represent a Welsh song by a particularly passionate Welsh band, but it's the only clip I could find!)

And to finish off we have a pleasant cover of 'Christmas Eve' by Teenage Fanclub which I am also particularly fond of.

Nadolig Llawen!


I just have to add to this post, Gordon (I suspect you knew I would). Firstly, I'm going to provide an English translation of Hwiangerdd Mair (The Lullaby of Mary). Why you didn't ask the half-Welsh beardie-folker in the first place remains a mystery! :

The wind soothes, the wind soothes
As it passes the door
And Mary on her straw bed
Gazes down at her lovely baby.

She gazes deeply into his happy face,
She hugs the Saviour of the World to her breast,
She sings a comforting song:

Sleep, sleep my dearest little one,
Sleep until the fine morning comes.

Sleep for a while, sleep for a while
Until these shepherds come;
And coming, coming to give praise,
Behold, the amazed wise men.

Sleep until Herod comes with his sword on his knee,
Sleep, soon you will tire of staying awake,
Sleep, until the Cross becomes your fate:

Sleep, sleep my dearest little one,
Sleep until the fine morning comes.

It's something like that anyway.
Secondly, I must say I almost had a fit when I saw that Union Flag on the page. The Butcher's Apron on The Streetlamp! Over my dead body etc etc. Nice save with the disclaimer. ;-)


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